A Beginners’ Guide to Guitar Pedals

beginners guide to guitar pedals

The world of electric guitars opens up new horizons of expression in music. It doesn’t come as much of a surprise that it’s one of the most popular instruments out there. After all, there are so many different things that you can do with an electric guitar, making it a very potent musical tool for almost all of the genres that we can think of today.

The fact that it’s an electric instrument that sends a signal to an amplifier opens up new ways for further altering and improving its tone. With the development of guitar effects, guitarists worldwide were given a new tool that would help them to more easily convey their artistic message.

So it’s not unusual to know that many guitar players have dedicated their time and effort in building elaborate pedalboards. Some of them even feature very complex loops and even external controllers to create different combinations of sounds.

huge guitar pedal board

If you’re new to guitar pedals, some things might get a bit confusing. Well, you’re definitely not alone in this, and even the most experienced guitar players have been there. After all, with so many different pedals and effects, it does get difficult to keep up with how things work.

With all this said, we figured we could help clear things up for beginners and do a detailed guide on guitar pedals. We sorted them out by categories, explaining what these effects do, and how adjusting their parameters affects your tone. At the end of this guide, you’ll have a better understanding of guitar pedals and enough knowledge to start building your pedalboard.


Tuners

Peterson Stomp Classic Strobe Tuner

Tuner pedals are not effects, but we still need to include them in this guide. Essentially, they are like regular guitar tuners, only in the form of guitar pedals that you can put in your signal chain.

What’s important to note here is that they have a display or an array of LED lights along with a display so that you can easily see when the open string hits the desired note.

They’re nothing fancy, but they serve their purpose for live settings. You just hit the footswitch, mute the tone, and tune your guitar. That’s it!

However, tuner pedals usually have buffered bypass, which can serve its purpose in the signal chain. Essentially, they can balance the signal and sort things out, but that’s a whole other discussion that we’ll touch upon some other time.

Read a review of one of our favorite tuning pedals here


Filters

DigiTech X-Series Synth Wah Envelope Filter review

Up next, we have filter pedals that serve the purpose of filtering out certain frequencies in your tone. This means they can also pronounce certain frequency ranges of the audible spectrum by filtering out everything else. One of the examples of filter pedals is the wah-wah.

Wahs can change the peak frequency, pronounce it, while everything else stays the same or gets filtered out. By moving its rocking part, wah pedal sweeps over the spectrum. We also have automatic wah pedals that change these frequencies according to the input signal, or the dynamics of your playing.

Other types of filter pedals are “static” and keep the tone according to your parameters. As a result, they can emulate some quirky synth tones. An example would be Line 6 FM4. However, these are usually more advanced “toys” that you don’t exactly need as a beginner.

Check out our review of the DigiTech Synth Wah Envelope Filter Pedal here


Equalizers

eq700

Just like your guitar amp has a 3-band equalizer with bass, middle, and treble controls, there are standalone pedals that can further shape your tone.

The simplest form of an EQ is a tone control on your guitar, and the most complex examples would be things like 30-band EQs or parametric EQs.

EQ pedals for guitar usually have anywhere between 5 and 10 frequency ranges that you can control using sliders. By turning the pedal on, you change the tone according to the set parameters, and then go back to the original tone when it’s turned off.

This is pretty useful if you need to change the tone for a certain section of a song, like pronouncing mids for a solo. MXR’s M108S is a good example of a 10-band EQ pedal.


Boosters

Fulltone Fulldrive2 MOSFET Overdrive Boost review

We could say that these are the simplest types of pedals out there. All they do is boosting the guitar signal without creating distortion in their circuit. If you need a slight volume boost without changing your tone, they come in handy.

However, they are also very useful with tube amplifiers or other tube pedals and devices in your signal chain. Tube amps tend to “break” their tone and cause that “natural” or “organic” distortion when reaching their limits.

A simple booster can help you achieve that vintage-sounding distortion with a tube amp or another tube-driven pedal.

Check out our review of the MRX MC401 Boost Pedal here


Compressors

boss-cs-3-compression-sustainer-pedal-review

Compressors often get overlooked, which is quite a shame as they are pretty useful. The proper name for them would be dynamic range compressors as they turn up the volume of quiet parts and keep the louder parts quieter.

Of course, you’re able to set parameters and intensity of this compression. They can also boost the signal when needed, but the main purpose is to keep everything in check and prevent anything from popping up in the mix.

This is why they’re very useful for bassists and rhythm guitarists.

Read our review of the BOSS CS-3, one of our favorite compressors


Expanders, aka noise gates

Boss NS-2 Noise Suppressor Pedal review

An expander is the opposite of a compressor – quiet parts get quieter, and louder parts get louder or just stay at the same volume.

This effect is perfect for dealing with high gain distortions that tend to add that hissing sound when you’re not playing. While it can’t filter out the hissing during your playing, it does keep things quiet in between the notes.

They usually have just one control that sets the threshold at which the effect is activated. They’re simple to use but still require some experience to implement properly without soaking up your tone.

Check out our review of the Boss NS-2


Pitch-altering pedals

digitech-whammy-pedal-re-issue-with-midi-control

This is where the fun stuff begins. Pitch shifters can alter the pitch of your whole output or add one or more intervals to what you’re playing.

For instance, the famous example here is the Digitech Whammy that can alter the pitch of your tone as you rock the moving part of the pedal back and forth.

Kind of like a wah pedal, but it changes the pitch. You can hear this one in Rage Against the Machine’s famous song “Killing in the Name.”

Octaver pedals are also pretty common on pedalboards, and they usually have settings to add two additional tones to what you’re playing, one and two octaves below.

They can find uses in lead sections or anything that doesn’t involve playing more than one note at a time. Boss has some great Octaver pedals, like the OC-3.

We also have harmonizers that add the desired interval above or below notes that you’re playing. These can either work chromatically by adding a fixed interval (i.e. major third) or diatonically where they work “smart” and accommodate the intervals according to the scale that you’re playing.

To use these “smart” versions of harmonizers, you need some basic music theory knowledge. Examples of harmonizer pedals include Boss VE-2, Boss VE-8, TC Helicon Harmony, and many others.

Read our review of the Digitech Whammy 5


Distortion

Boss DS-2 Turbo Distortion review

Now we get to the most important part of every pedalboard – distortion pedals. In the world of guitar, the distortion effect is divided into three categories, which are overdrive, classic distortion, and fuzz.

They create this effect by intentional boosting and clipping of the signal. Different types of clipping create different types of distortion.

There’s something for everyone’s taste these days, and the most attention is usually dedicated to finding proper distortion pedals for certain styles of music and playing.

Some of the famous examples include Ibanez Tube Screamer with all of its variants, Boss DS-1, Electro-Harmonix Big Muff, MXR M75, the legendary Klon Centaur, Pro Co Rat, and many others.

Read our review of the Pro Co Turbo Rat distortion pedal


Modulation

mxr-m134-stereo-chorus-273109

Modulation effects include everything that adds the copy of your signal, alters it a little, and blends it in with the unprocessed signal.

The most famous modulation effect is the chorus that adds a very short delay and alters the pitch up and down according to the set amplitude and speed.

We also have flanging and phasing, which are in some technical ways similar, but in practice produce completely different effects.

Most of the modulation pedals have a “mix” or “blend” control that determines the ratio between unprocessed and processed signals.

There are also depth and speed controls, along with a few other things. Strymon has a great chorus pedal called Ola. MXR has the M134 stereo chorus that’s pretty great too.

Check out our review of the MXR M134 Stereo Chorus Pedal


Atmospheric effects: delays and reverbs

electro harmonix holy grail reverb

To keep your tone more interesting, you should think of different “atmospheric” effects. After all, you can’t keep it “dry” all the time. For this purpose, we have delay and reverb pedals. Both of these add repeated copies of your tone to create an illusion of a bigger or smaller room.

Delays add simple repeats according to set parameters. You can control the time distance between these repeats, the number of repeats, and the mix between the original and repeated signal.

It’s the classic echo effect. In some cases, pedals also have separate EQ controls for shaping the tone of the repeated signal. There’s anything from the simple stuff like the MXR carbon copy, up to very complex pieces like the Empress Echosystem.

Reverbs also repeat the signal, but in a more “shimmering” manner, giving the impression of one prolonged atmospheric continued repeat. It’s as if you’re playing in a large hall or a cathedral.

They also include blend or mix controls, just like delays. Strymon’s Big Sky is a great example of a very spacious-sounding reverb.

Read our review of the TC Electronic M3000


Volume pedals

morley-volume-pedal

While they could be the most boring part of one pedalboard, volume pedals should be an essential part of every signal chain, especially if you’re playing in a bigger band or an orchestra.

They’re pretty simple – you use them to control your output volume. They have a rocking part that you use to turn the volume up or down. There’s usually the “minimum volume” switch that sets the volume when the pedal is at its minimum position.

There’s a common misconception with beginners thinking that the volume pedal can do the same thing as the booster pedal. The thing with volume pedals is that you’re reducing the volume to the desired level. You use it when you’re supposed to keep quiet in the mix.

There are high impedance and low impedance volume pedals, but we’re not going to get too much into technical details about this. Low impedance pedals are more common and they go at the very end or near the end of the signal chain. Ernie Ball has its MVP volume pedal that’s very reliable.


Expression pedals, tap pedals, and sequencers

8StepProg-large

Some of the effects we mentioned usually support connectivity with external control sources. For this, we have expression pedals, which are just multi-purpose potentiometers in the form of a pedal.

Automatic wah-wah, certain modulation pedals, or even delays can work with an expression pedal, but only if they have a separate input jack for it.

On their own, expression pedals do nothing, although many volume pedals also have the expression pedal functionality.

Tap switches work the same way, it’s just that they have one control switch that sets the tempo of the effect. For instance, you connect it to a delay, and when your delay pedal is turned on, tap the switch pedal twice and the tempo of your repeated tones will be set according to the tempo that you tapped.

Sequencer pedals are a bit more complicated, and they’re definitely not something that a beginner would use. It’s a complex controller that has a sequence of adjustable steps.

It controls any effect with the expression pedal connectivity feature, but it does nothing on its own. An example here would be the well-known Electro-Harmonix 8-Step Program Analog Expression Sequencer.


What’s the correct order of pedals in the signal chain?

First off, there’s no such thing as the “correct” order of pedals. There are, however, some standards in arranging your pedalboard that may help you get the clearest tone without any unwanted noises or hisses.

This is the usual order, but you’re free to experiment. The whole thing is open for discussion.

From guitar to the amp, it goes like this: tuner – filter – EQ – compressor – boost – pitch altering – distortion – modulation – volume pedals – delay – reverb. Volume pedal can also come after the delay and reverb.

We Review the Best Distortion Pedals For Metal

Denmark’s TRex Engineering Continues to Clamp Jaws On Boutique Guitar Pedal Market

When it comes to modern guitar effect pedals, and music gear in general, there are quite a lot of companies out making it.  Some companies are large, and some are small.  Some suck, some are great.  We all know how it goes.

To the end user, aka the music gear consumer, there are advantages to dealing with both big and small companies, as well as cons.  

On one hand, large companies are trusted and have years of experience doing what they do, and can back up any of their products (usually) with guarantees and warranties that protect the musicians buying them from lightning storms, jam hall fires, irresponsible siblings getting their slimy mitts on your pedal board, etc. 

These big, established companies that have household names make pedals that are the go-to gear of working musicians, and the cycle of rock continues.

On the other hand, you have companies that run a slightly smaller, tighter ship, but have more creative freedom, and are able to experiment. 

They also have the ability to keep a meticulous eye on everything that goes on, and their customer service has the potential to be a lot better, as they can offer things the big companies can’t, and come up with technology that is mind-blowingly inventive.

A company of this sort that is small but spunky would be T-Rex Engineering, a company out of Denmark  who manufacturers a number of guitar pedals, including distortion/overdrive, tremolo, looper, delay, reverb, octaver, wah, and more. 

They also make power supplies, boards, bags, cables, brackets, and tape cartridges.  

Basically, TRex makes a lot of what your average musician will need to get through the next show, plus a bunch of stuff that a lot of musicians wouldn’t mind getting for their birthdays if only their friends, family, and loved ones knew a thing or two about cool music gear.

Lars and Sebastian, childhood friends who both have a passion for music, and who founded the company back in 1996, always make sure the components with which they use to make their pedals and gear is of the utmost quality.  They have a small but dedicated team who work together to keep on top of things.

Being music gear nerds here at YTMS, and fans of boutique guitar pedals and crazy/cool effects, we managed to set up a little Q&A with TRex, with the hopes to get a better idea how their business works, and also so we can learn more about their pedals, which we are big fans of!

You gotta figure, if their stuff is good enough for the likes of Steve Lukather (Toto), Marc Tremonti (Alter Bridge), Martin Gore (Depeche Mode), Carl Verheyen (Supertramp), Patrick Matera (Katy Perry) and Luke Potashnik (Katie Melua), they must have their shit together.

And in the following chat, we find out exactly how TRex goes about things!  Enjoy!


Can you, in a nutshell, describe what TRex Engineering does?

We design and manufacture effects, amps, power supplies and accessories for guitar players, as well as other musicians that need useable tools for real-world applications.

What inspired you to get into the effects pedals business?

Lars (founder) is an electronics guy and for his graduation project, he made a switching system for pedals, so they could be turned on and off in presets. Sebastian (childhood friend, founder) did the digital part, since he was also graduating in electronics, although back then, you did either analog or digital.

They had both between the two of them, so it worked quite well.

A few players saw it and wanted to buy it, so the guys started a small production.

So really, it was as simple as a “good idea” that people bought into, which is still very much the philosophy around here – ask and listen to the players and see if you can come up with stuff that they feel is useful, not just impressive or “en vogue”.

How was the guitar effects pedal world different back when you guys started in 1996?

First of all, there weren’t that many competitors (or should I say colleagues?). The boutique thing was just happening and things were still pretty old school regarding the setups/rigs.

Nowadays, programmers can make the planet rotate the other way using a chip that costs 0.02USD, it seems.

In many ways, the pedal world hasn’t changed one bit since Hendrix tracked “Hey Joe”, because there seems to be an incredible interest in “classic” effects and sounds, but at the same time, we embrace new technology like there’s no tomorrow.

The requests we get are sometimes physically impossible to meet, but I get why the question is asked because from the outside world, it certainly looks like anything’s possible.

One guy wanted a pedal that could detect what key the band was playing in, so that he could pick the right harmonica for the song – I don´t want to put the guy down at all, but a book on music theory is 5 bucks and needs no power.

In short, we are all a lot closer to each other now and manufacturers must listen harder and react faster on the market demands.

What are some of your top sellers these days…and why?

The Soulmate Acoustic and our tape echos are doing pretty well right now. I guess they serve a purpose that players can relate to.

With the ASM, it sort of takes out all the guesswork of playing live with an acoustic, because everything is there – effects, signal conditioning, pre-amplification, D.I. box, etc.

The tape echo units seem to be “fun” and offer something completely different to what else is out there, good AND bad. But most customers like them for the exact same reasons.

Shoot, who doesn’t like to press a switch and watch stuff turn, roll, slide and blink? And then it also puts out sound!!

We all connect to our inner 3-year old child when we see such a thing, which I think complements the precise, predictive and controlled nature of a modern DSP-based effect.

These speak to the grown-up part of our brain and provides safety in use, but they are not as lively or random.

I think music that has some irregularities in it speaks a bit louder than something that’s maybe slightly too polished, and I guess that’s why there’s room for a tape echo on the market, also.

You’re obviously into more than just pedals.  For those who don’t know, what other stuff do you make?

We make some power bricks called FuelTanks, that share a common topology but differ in size, total power and in the various options for powering pedals.

We also make ToneTrunk pedalboards, which are also available in various sizes.

These differ from the competition by being two-tiered, so you get to turn on a pedal in the back row without hitting knobs or switches on the goodies in the front row.

I know you take pride in your components.  From where do you source the materials?

It depends. Where “standard” stuff gets the job done, we use it.

If a certain design calls for some special component, we try to track one down that might fit the purpose or simply have them made according to our specs.

So the philosophy is that the customer should only pay extra if extra is needed.

We have several custom made parts in our products – some are from Danish manufacturers, others from the US or Asia. It all depends on who can make it for us.

We source mechanical parts for the tape echo locally (because of high tolerance), we make custom knobs right at our factory in China, and our custom made transformers and coils come from our transformer supplier in Denmark.

What’s the main factor in making a more durable pedal?

Obviously, the parts have to be connected tightly and the parts that see the most stress should be up to the task.

Honestly, I don’t think there’s much more to do for mankind here – do we really need a design that can be run over by a truck and still work? I mean, who plays gigs involving running their equipment over by trucks? (I’d love to go see this band, though).

Basically, it’s about sticking to the laws of physics. Making sure that the parts stay connected during use.

As for the components, humans don’t even know how long, say, a resistor will last, because they haven’t been around long enough for us to even know.

Some drift or fail, but as a component “species”, they work forever (so far) as long as they don’t run too hot. So staying cool is always preferred.

And then you test, to try and catch the “lemons”.

Maybe if we all stopped kicking those poor circuits they would last longer?

Pedals are about the only piece of delicate electronics that are purposely made to be stomped on all the time. Food for thought.

Is there one type of pedal you feel that you specialize in?

I don’t think we necessarily excel at a certain type of effect, but I do believe we have gotten pretty good at finding the sweet spot between “one trick pony” and “it can also make you a smashing café au lait and take your kids to school”.

Musicians can’t always manage 200 choices at a gig/rehearsal when they feel something ain’t quite right, but a few choice options are quite valuable because you wanna get the music going, not fiddle around for hours on end.

But for a certain effect TYPE, I don’t know. Delay? We’ve had good success with the Replica.

What do you think is your dirtiest pedal of all?

Easy: Michael’s Mudhoney. Or his Soulmate. Both have seen numerous stages and, being Michael’s, it shows. Not even a chisel helps. It’s like a superman mix of beer and epoxy glue.

Even Mike doesn’t know how he did it…

Seriously, I would pick the original Mudhoney. Not in terms of gain levels but in terms of “sound”.

What do you consider to be your niftiest pedal?  The one that strikes you as being most ingenious?

That would probably be the tape echos.

We sort of made them because we couldn’t help ourselves, but I think we managed to incorporate some not-seen-before features, making them not only a fresher version of some long forgotten technology but also something that peeked into the new millennium.

Then there was the Spindoctor, which had motorized pots for preset storage of settings. That was pretty “nifty”.

How has Danish music in general influenced your approach to making guitar pedals?

The Danish music scene has changed a lot, too, since T-Rex started out. I guess it’s not that much different from the rest of the western world.

We can’t ignore the power of “computer music” or the change in gear requirements – it´s been ages since I’ve seen a 4×12 stack in a club, for example.

But that fuels the creativity at the same time, because there´s a need for new gear.

And we’re not about to do another TS clone, so for us, it’s cool.

How often do you sell out of certain products? 

It’s actually a situation that one tries to avoid, because it means you can’t send out products to your distribution chain.

But it has happened many times, mostly because we misplaced our crystal ball that we used to keep track of future orders.

It’s like buying beer kegs for your backyard party – if you don’t know who’ll show up and how much beer they can drink, how will you know how many kegs you need? And again, you definitely don’t wanna run out before midnight.

What do you think are the advantages of being a relatively smaller company in this day and age of mass production?

It’s easier to change a few little things here and there, design-wise or work-wise in the process and the very same developers that created the products are also somewhat involved in the sales/marketing side of things, which creates the glue that holds it all together.

Also, people would be surprised how many hats we all wear here.

We have to, being this small. It makes coming to work a lot more fun, because you can be an R&D guy one day, and a warehouse guy the next.

And this creates a mutual understanding of the whole organization, which I believe is a positive thing.

What do you think keeps certain artists like Martin Gore, Steve Lukather, and Carl Verheyen coming back to T-Rex Effects?

The coffee. It’s shit, but we have loads of it!

No, first of all I think the artist relationships we have ARE based on relationship rather than actual gear.

It’s not like those guys have their cases stuffed with T-Rex gear front to back, but they (and their techs) are always up for checking out our stuff and hear what we’ve got cooking.

And then we show up at shows and give them some support through our channels.

I have to give serious credit to my colleague Michael who is our A&R guy, because I think he manages to keep things on a “friend” level, and I think that is the main reason why guys like those you mention stick around. It’s all very down to earth.

Sure, they play bigger stages than the average guy, but the common interest in the biz, gear or life in general prevails.

And they are just so nice, friendly and helpful on all levels, and that´s the kind of people you want close by, right?

I hope that´s not too far from the truth.

Thanks for the chat!

Visit: http://www.t-rex-effects.com/

What Delay Does Tom Morello Use? – Boss DD-3 Digital Delay Guitar Pedal Review

Boss DD-3 Digital Delay Guitar Pedal Review

While Rage Against The Machine may be a beacon of musical revolt, but there is very real order to Tom Morello’s tone. As a matter of fact, Morello is one of the best guitar players of our time and for a good reason.

His ability to create a full sound with only basic tools has solidified that title for sure. One of those tools is Boss DD-3 Digital Delay. Morello is known for his affinity of Boss delays, and DD-3 is one of the more recent additions to his pedalboard.

Today we are going to check it out closer and see what it has to offer.  As you can see from the video below, the DD-3 factors largely into Tom’s overall sound.

Boss DD-3 Digital Delay Review

The evolution of Boss digital delays is definitely an interesting one. Back in 1980s, we had the almighty DD-2. It was a first compact digital delay pedal that actually worked.

The DD-3 we are talking about today is the next model in the lineup. They have basically taken what was a rather solid platform, and built a whole new pedal upon it.

As a result, we have a familiar tone with much more functionality and great performance. The real question is whether or not DD-3 has managed to overcome the issues commonly associated with digital delays?

Feature Pick

Boss Dd-3 Digital Delay Bundle With Instrument Cable, Patch

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Design

By now, it has become pretty futile to talk about Boss pedal chassis design. They haven’t changed much ever since Boss first came up with their universal chassis.

With that said, Boss DD-3 sports a white enclosure you will immediately be familiar with if you have ever used a Boss pedal before.

As sick and tired as some people get from this design, there is a very strong sense of safety in knowing that most Boss pedals come natural.

Same goes for DD-3. It’s intuitive, easy to use and all about performance.

Features

When it comes to features, things get far more interesting. Controls are more or less straight forward, but fairly diverse. Here’s what we mean by that. Going from left to right, you have your effect level knob, which is self explanatory.

That is followed by a feedback knob which determines how long of an echo you will have. Next two knobs are where most of the action happens. Delay time allows you to manually set the amount of delay.

The pedal itself goes from 5ms to 800ms. Mode knob next to it features several preset delay times, namely short, medium and long. Short is limited to 50ms, medium sets you up with 200ms while long goes to the max value of 800ms.

Last mode labeled as Hold allows puts DD-3 in infinite delay loop. In other words, you can choose to access predetermined modes or set the delay time manually.

In terms of I/O ports, there is the standard input/output pair along with a direct out. One feature that is missing is tap tempo.

That is about the only drawback we can find although it isn’t really a drawback when you consider where DD-3 fits into the Boss Digital Delay lineup.

There are other pedals in this range that come with tap tempo. Compared to those more advanced pedals, DD-3 comes across as a tribute to good old times when things were simple and you had to manually set just about everything.

Performance

Whatever drawbacks we may have listed in the features segment are pretty much compensated by the raw performance of this pedal. Boss delays were always revered as a impressive no matter how strict your requirements are.

With DD-3, it’s the same thing. Despite the lack of tap tempo, it isn’t actually that hard to find the right amount of delay. Chances are that some of the three offered modes are going to work for you, but even if they don’t, the delay time knob is pretty intuitive.

As far as the actual sound of the pedal goes, Boss brings a very solid performance. Compared to other digital delays, DD-3 can be described as warm and somewhat organic.

Those two words aren’t commonly associated with digital delays, which should tell you a lot. DD-3 works great for just about any genre of music, ranging from  blues and pop all the way to metal.

What really stands out is the flavor of DD-3. There is something so smooth about it, which completely voids the fact that it is after all a digital delay. We can attribute this to Boss and their know how.

To be fair, they have smudging the line between digital and analog ‘flavors’ for a while now. In the end you are left with two great reasons why DD-3 is the way to go.

One being its well known performance and the other what we’ve just mentioned. Once again we see proof that simplicity isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

Conclusion

While DD-3 may not fully meet the standards some users have, it is important to understand who this pedal is catered to. If you need all the bells and whistles, there are other Boss models from the DD series which will most likely fit your needs.

DD-3 was introduced as a direct successor to the popular DD-2, and thus comes with only the core features. As we can see from the fact that Tom Morello uses one of these, you can push a seemingly basic delay quite far.

On a more serious note, Boss DD-3 is like a checkpoint between your super cheap delays and your boutique models. It’s there, at the middle of the road providing pure security and reliability.

To some, such nature could come across as a flaw, but to many it is exactly what made Boss into the company they are today.

If all you need is a proper delay and you don’t plan on getting the any deeper into this effect, it is fair to say that DD-3 is about as good as it gets all things considered.

Way Huge WHE701 Aqua-Puss Analog Delay Pedal Review

Way Huge has come a long way from being a proper boutique pedal shop. They have managed to combine niche designs with a more commercial pricing and production. In other words, we get the best of both worlds. Way Huge WHE701 Aqua-Puss is one of the best examples of what we meant. It is an analog delay pedal that blows most of its competition clean out of the water. Simple, robust and incredibly refined, this thing is an obvious choice of you are looking for that vintage tone. Today we are going to take a closer look and show you what Aqua-Puss has to offer.

Way Huge WHE701 Aqua-Puss Review

Feature Pick

Way Huge Whe701 Aqua-Puss Analog Delay

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Delay is by far one of the oldest guitar effects in use today. It is so simple yet capable of making a large impact on any piece of music. In a market full of digital delays which sound too artificial, finding a good analog one makes all the difference. Way Huge WHE701 Aqua-Puss brings you that, but in a package that is easy to handle and pretty intuitive. Lets elaborate on that for just a moment. Most analog delays usually come with a complex control interface. You can adjust just about any facet of the effect. Those who are adamant of having complete control over their tone might enjoy this. However, such complexity can quickly become a nuisance. Way Huge has basically created a pedal that offers that awesome vintage analog performance but minus all of the complicated controls.

Design

Since vintage tones are sort of their specialty, Way Huge reflects that in their designs. Way Huge WHE701 Aqua-Puss Comes in a rugged but simple metal chassis that can take all the abuse you are capable of dishing out. Seriously, the sheet metal they have used thick enough to take a hammer and still retain shape. Not that we suggest you do this, of course. The entire thing is coated in a somewhat metallic blue paint which allows the brushed aluminum finish to break through to the top. Only additional aesthetic details are the white labels on top.

The chassis features the standard I/O in the back, along with a power adapter plug. At the front, you will find the battery compartment. It is super easy to access and doesn’t require you to dismantle the chassis in order to change the battery. One more thing worth noting is the fact that the pedal sits on four rubber feet.

Features

As we have said before, Way Huge WHE701 Aqua-Puss is a simple pedal. That was the whole point. Because of that, the controls and features are also very simple. You have three knobs and the main foot switch at your disposal. Available knobs include a Delay knob, Feedback and Blend. Delay knob allows you to pick the type of delay you want. The range goes from 20ms to full 300ms of delay. Next comes the Feedback knob which regulates both intensity and duration of the delay. Lastly, there is the Blend know which is pretty self explanatory. Full clockwise position gives you a completely wet signal, while full counter clockwise yields a completely dry signal.

Real features are underneath the metal chassis. Way Huge have used top tier components in their analog circuit. We are talking Bucked Brigade Device analog delay IC, BL3102 CMOS and more. In other words, Way Huge went the full 9 yards to ensure that what you are getting is a proper vintage performance. The most interesting part about all of this is the fact that Way Huge WHE701 Aqua-Puss still falls within the category of affordable effects pedals.

Performance

With all the technical specs out of the way, it is time to talk about the elephant in the room. What does Way Huge WHE701 Aqua-Puss sound like? To start things off, we have to reiterate that Aqua-Puss is about as vanilla as it gets. There are no trippy delay modes, or anything similar. What you get is a no nonsense delay, just like in the olden days. The secret to WHE701’s performance is sound clarity and that organic vibe it has. Analog delays are still the norm for a reason as no one likes the clinical almost sterile sound of their digital counterparts. Way Huge has tapped into the vintage stream almost 20 years ago with the first version of Aqua-Puss. This reissue that we are looking at today brings you that same performance with a few almost unnoticeable tweaks. If you mostly play classic rock or blues, Way Huge WHE701 Aqua-Puss will be right up your alley.

We thought that being limited to the three basic controls might take away from the whole experience. However, that was not the case. On the contrary, being able to focus on the sound and only make tiny, quick adjustments has made Way Huge WHE701 Aqua-Puss a favorite in our shop. This must be why so many popular guitar players are using this very pedal as their main. The only thing to be careful of with Aqua-Puss is to not go overboard. Maxing out feedback and delay can push the pedal into a spiral of madness. Even though the threshold is fairly obvious and easy to stay away from, it is still something to keep an eye out during regular use.

Conclusion

Way Huge effects pedals are probably the best way to experience boutique sound on a budget. Since Jim Dunlop owns Way Huge, people usually think that pedals available today are just the watered down version of what Way Huge used to build 20 or so years ago. That is definitely not the case. Instead, Dunlop has more or less kept the quality standards of Way Huge, but boosted the entire brand by pushing it through Dunlop’s massive manufacturing apparatus. Way Huge WHE701 Aqua-Puss is definitely worth checking out if you need a good, vintage delay pedal. Especially if you like simple control interfaces and no-nonsense tone.

Eventide TimeFactor Twin Delay Pedal Review – Taking Delays To A Whole New Level

Delays belong to the ever elusive category of temporal effects. To some, delays are a one trick pony. You will often find that one guitar player who has dozens of distortion or overdrive pedals, but just a single Boss delay. However, the truth is that delays are a rabbit hole you can easily get lost in. Need proof? Just check out Eventide TimeFactor Twin Delay. Not only does this thing completely change the game when it comes to adding that delay to your signal chain, but it looks like a panel from a space shuttle. Today we are going to check it out and show you just what kind of performance you can expect to see from this thing.

Eventide TimeFactor Twin Delay Review

Eventide is known for pushing the envelope all the time. Sometimes they do it even if we don’t need nor want such solutions. Even so, we are always appreciative of their effort considering how much of an impact they have. TimeFactor twin delay is no different in this sense, aside from being extremely useful and reshaping the way we experience delay pedals. They have built so much functionality into a single stompbox, thus giving us a true multi tool. With that said, there should be a word of warning printed on every TimeFactor box. This pedal requires effort. Not that much skill, but effort. If you are wondering why, you are about to find out.

Feature Pick

Eventide Timefactor Twin Delay Pedal

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Features

It may be hard to make sense of the mess that is the control panel on TimeFactor. However, the closer you get, easier it becomes to decipher. For starters, you need to look at it as a sound processor rather than an average delay. Go one level deeper and we can break that description down into a more manageable chunks. TimeFactor features two independent delays, both of which are paired with the main processing unit. Interestingly enough, you can use both delay channels at the same time. Each channel is fully configurable and adjustable, however the core of the magic happens in the processor.

Eventide has packed this pup full to the brim with all kinds of modes, options and features. We have 100 built in presets, a full fledged looping station, LFO, filters and a whole lot more. Controlling this beast is done using three footswitches, a series of 11 knobs and a built in LED display. With that said, the most practical point of control you have are the two main modes. You have Play mode and Bank mode. Former turns the pedal into a relatively standard delay. In other words, you can select the type of delay you want, dial it in and use it in real time. Far left switch is your bypass in this scenario, far right switch is the tap temp, but the middle switch is where things get crazy. By pressing the middle switch, you engage the infinite repeat feature.

In Bank mode, you can store various patches into the memory of the pedal and access them at any time in the future. TimeFactor comes with full MIDI support, thus allowing you to pair it with various controllers. In short, Eventide has given you all the tools you could ever need to dial in a vast variety of delay types.

Speaking of delay types, there are 10 of them in total. You have your digital delay, vintage delay, tape delay and all the usual suspects you can think of. Some of them are strictly mono, but many of them work in stereo as well. Plugging this pedal into stereo mode adds an additional layer of awesomeness to the whole equation.

In Use

The abundance of features has made TimeFactor a very hot piece of gear to have. However, where most other pedals are limited to stage use, this one comes to shine when put to hard work in a recording studio. The level of complexity, number of delay types and sheer quality of sound make it a prime piece of gear for this application. That one knob which allows you to blend in both delay channels is enough to earn it this title, let alone everything else.

With all that said, it is worth mentioning that Eventide TimeFactor takes some getting used to. Figuring out all of this won’t happen over night. Fortunately, this pedal is one of those which work at the pace you set, not the other way around. If you don’t feel like recording a patch, looping it through one channel while you push something completely different through the other, you don’t have to. As a matter of fact, you can use it as a most basic delay package. Spending time with TimeFactor will slowly start revealing some of its numerous traits. In all honesty, getting comfortable with each layer of its performance is the best way to approach it. Of course, if you have plenty of experience with guitar effects pedals, TimeFactor will come across as an unusually large blank canvas. This probably explains why John Petrucci, Robin Finch and many other legends of our time are using this delay as a part of their standard setup.

Conclusion

What Eventide did with TimeFactor isn’t new in a sense that no one has done it before. There are similar pedals out there. They did, however put a whole new spin on the idea of a versatile delay package. There is a good chance  that TimeFactor is simply the most capable pedal of its kind out there. If you think about it, every single aspect of TimeFactor’s existence is geared towards professional use. From its sturdy chassis, impressive I/O cluster, to the colorful offering of controls, modes and presets. Sure, it isn’t the cheapest thing in the world, but the amount of value it brings to the table largely outweighs the price. As a matter of fact, we could even go so far as to say it is a bargain.

Check out this demo tutorial video for the Eventide TimeFactor to get a closer look at this baby.

Line 6 DL4 Delay Modeler Review

Line 6 DL4 Delay Modeler Review
 

Most average guitar players associate Line 6 with affordable modeling amps. The truth is that this brand has a very capable line of effects pedals. These often time combine the modern modeling technology with a classic format in an effort to increase versatility.

The DL4 Stompbox Delay Modeler fits this bill pretty accurately. It’s not your average delay pedal, but more of a delay processor that comes packed with a whole bunch of awesome features. What makes it even more attractive aside from its core performance, is the price. You can grab one of these with a budget that would hardly afford you something similar. Let’s go over the features and performance of the Line 6 DL4 so we can see what this thing is all about.

Line 6 DL4 Delay Modeler Review

Features

One simple glance at the Line 6 DL4 will tell you it’s a very busy looking pedal. The chassis is a wide one, which is good considering the number of control knobs and switches there are. For the most part, the core of the DL4 is its mode select knob. This is where you can select one of 16 vintage delay and echo effects. Once you’ve done that, you can tweak the effect just how you like it. However, that’s not all you get. DL4 can also serve as a looper pedal and offers 14-second loops.

Right underneath, you will find four footswitches where three of them are used to store presets, while one is a tap-tempo switch. All of the switching is true bypass, so you don’t have to worry about your tone being altered in any way when the pedal is off. If you really want to expand the range of this already versatile pedal, there is a port for an expression pedal as well. Speaking of the I/O cluster, Line 6 DL4 comes with a set of stereo ins and outs.

In terms of power, this bad boy takes four C batteries which will get you some 30 hours of up time. On the other hand, you can also use the PX-2G power adapter, but that is something you have to get additionally.

Let’s talk a little about build quality. Line 6 DL4 comes across as a rugged stompbox, but that is not really the case. When used with care, you can count for years of reliable performance. However, the moment you start beating on it mercilessly, things tend to go downhill. Is this a deal breaker? The answer to that question depends on how hard you go on your pedals. For us, it’s not. Being aware of the limitations of your gear is a good practice that can save you a lot of trouble down the road. There are pedals out there which are built like tanks, being capable of dealing with all kinds of abuse. On the other hand, there are pedals which are a bit more sensitive in this regard. Line 6 DL4 belongs to the latter category.

Performance

Going from a standard delay stompbox to something like Line 6 DL4 feels like being given a blank canvas and a box of colors. This thing is packed with so much potential that is only waiting to be released. However, there are downsides to being allowed such freedom and reign over your tone. Using the DL4 can’t really be described as easy. There are so many things to dial in if you want to squeeze out the best performance. However, you can just use the built-in presets and stick to that.

The sound of the effect is where things really start to shine. Considering this is a fully digital processor, many have wondered just how good of a tone this pedal offers, and rightly so. Fortunately for all of us, the DL4’s sound feels fairly organic and natural. Even when you push the effect to its limits, it still responds pretty well.

The best thing about Line 6 DL4 is the fact that it allows you a whole lot of control. On top of that, it offers the looper feature, which is more than can be said for a number of similar setups. Now, look at this entire package through a prism of a fairly competitive price and you got yourself a very good deal.

Conclusion

At the end of the day, Line 6 DL4 brings a good performance at a great price. As such, it is only expected for it to have some drawbacks. We absolutely love the versatility you get, with all of the delay and echo modes available, but we can’t close our eyes to reliability issues. Again, if you take good care of your gear, chances are that you won’t have a single problem with this pedal, but you’d also expect for Line 6 do actually do something about it.

When it comes to its raw performance, we can’t praise it enough. Dwelling into complex delay patterns is not for everyone. However, those who do have a need for that type of experience will find the DL4 to be a great tool. There is so much potential to work with, especially if your demands step outside the boundaries of a regular delay stompbox. As always, it all comes down to weighing out the pros and cons. Those who need just a simple delay effect can probably save a decent amount of money by going with a standard model. Bottom line, we definitely think that Line 6 DL4 is worth it.

Feature Pick

Line 6 Dl4 Stompbox Delay Modeler

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