Thursday, 23 July 2015

'Civil War' Big Muff clone demo - I am useless with fuzz

Some people worship fuzz pedals. Many kneel in the praise of delay. There's probably someone out there who loves tuners. 

Fuzz impresses me but I can't use it. I've never liked straight out fuzzes or Muffs. Give me a distortion pedal like an HM-2, some nice overdrive pedals, and even a Metal Zone and I can make it work for me. Give me a Fuzz Face and I collapse into tears of frustration. I like the pedals that are more overdrive that can get fuzzy: RAT2, Throbak Overdrive Boost, Skreddy Lunar Module (which I really shouldn't have sold, it was fabulous). 

Take this pedal here. It's a Civil War Big Muff clone built by a chap on my main guitar forum. It's really nicely done: decent wiring and soldering, good board, decent finish. In use it sounds good but it doesn't suit me. 

I console myself with this thought: when was Johnny Marr ever associated with a fuzz pedal? (and no the bloody Healers do not count)

Crowther Audio Hot Cake overdrive pedal

Been around for ages and it's a great pedal. It's not a big trebly beast, perhaps one reason why it suits AC30 and Vox-type amps. Having said that, it suits every amp I've had. 

Verdict: buy it. Can't go wrong. 

And I have nothing more to say so listen to it instead. 

Tuesday, 21 July 2015

Earthquaker Devices Afterneath reverb pedal

As a devoted Loveless fan, I thought this pedal would be right up my street. That short multitap delay sound coupled with reverb should have been right up my street.

Already you know this review is one that is disappointed. 

The pedal is noisy. The Drag control at fully anticlockwise introduces a low frequency noise that disappears around 9 o'clock, only for a higher frequency noise to appear closer to 3 o'clock. The footswitch is absurdly loud and clicky. The Length knob can cause self-oscillation as can the Reflect knob. It won't do 100% wet.  

Does it have some really great sounds in it? Yes. 

Am I keeping it? No. 

Really my disappointment is because I'm so used to plugins now. Echoboy nails that "multitap in reverse" sound and gives out so many more tonal options. If you want that MBV sound in a pedal format then the Stereo Memory Man with Hazarai does it better than the Afterneath. 

It's a niche reverb. Those who love it will love it hard. 

I don't. 

Monday, 20 July 2015

Turbo RAT with the OPO7DP chip versus RAT2 with the LM308 chip

Many years ago I picked up a RAT2: love at first sight. She's battered, no battery door, I took all the feet off, and there's tape on the bottom protecting the innards. I've had other RAT2s including one very slightly younger and each has sounded a bit different, something you'd expect with the usual tolerance percentages of components and construction. Mine has a bit more low end to it. 

After picking up a Turbo RAT with the OPO7DP chip in it, it seemed the right thing to match one against the other. You'll see in the video that the volume knob for the RAT2 is different to the Turbo RAT: this is purely to get the volume levels matching, the Turbo has a bit more volume on tap. 

The Turbo has more volume and a brighter character. It's a bit more direct compared to the RAT2 which is more fuzzy. I prefer the RAT2. 

So which one should you pick? Whatever one suits you best. Buy a few of them cheap when they come up on Ebay and experiment. 

Monday, 13 July 2015

Lexicon Reflex rack effects unit

I first had one of these units when I used a Roland JC-120 as a powered 2x12" speaker cab. Dirt pedals going into one of those cute little EHX 2ube preamps, some delays going out in stereo to the Reflex and then two feeds going into the JC-120 power amps. Back then I also had an Alesis Quadraverb, VanAmps Sole-Mate, and a lovely old solid state Laney reverb unit.

Going short spring reverb (Sole-Mate into the long-spring Laney = complete reverb win.

But what about the Reflex?

It's really good. It's not got the sparkly character of the Quadraverb, it's a bit more neutral than that. The reverbs and effects really suit guitar and it's very easy to dial in. 

Prices vary, anything from £40 to £80.

Friday, 10 July 2015

Yamaha CH-10MII analog chorus

Oh look, it's one of the many older MIJ chorus pedals out there. 

Reasons to love this:

-it's substantially cheaper than a Boss CE-2. 

-stereo outputs

-throw a dummy jack in the direct output and it becomes a vibrato (a trick you can try with a lot of old chorus pedals. The Boss CE-3 does it brilliantly). 

-Works surprisingly well with a bass guitar. 

Reasons to not love this:

-it's not the strongest chorus sound out there. it hasn't got the solid great to pick individual notes with CE-2 sound or the richer swirly sound some of the others do. Somewhere in the middle. 

Under £40 should get you this pedal. 

Wednesday, 8 July 2015

EHX Deluxe Memory Man - MN3005 versus MN3008

There's a lot said about the DMM. I keep buying and selling purely to hear the variations and differences. This year I've been fortunate enough to have two really nice ones come through my hands.

The first was a REV E motherboard DMM with 2x MN3005 chips.

The second was a REV D motherboard DMM with 4x MN3008 chips. 

How do they differ in sound? 

MN3005 - the delays are a bit more smeared and blur together very nicely.  

MN3008 - A little more chorus noise. The delays are cleaner and clearer. 

For the murky soundscapes I like the the Rev E MN3005 pedal. For cleaner picking and arpeggios the MN3008 DMM works better. 

Really there is no definitive DMM sound. I've now owned 13 different DMMs from the New Sensor reissues to some of the older ones with the built in power cable and each one was different. 

Demo below features both pedals at 100% wet, around 325 to 350 ms of delay, a dash of chorus, and the feedback level at... I can't remember.