If the new EHX 95000 looper is any indication, NAMM 2018 should debut some interesting products for the modern guitarist.
I saw this at a NAMM recently and it looked interesting but was vaporware at the time. Also, it required wearing an unwieldy contraption on your foot. Since then the folks at Chroma Coda have made some changes to the Poly Expressive concept that makes it more attractive (getting rid of the footwear, for starters). They have also launched a Kickstarter campaign. What do we think?
There is a wonderful world of effects out there, but maximizing their usefulness often requires modifying parameters on the fly—think Whammy pedal, or runaway delay feedback. Unfortunately, modifying parameters, and even engaging or switching off effects, tethers you to the pedal in a way that can hamper your visual performance.
There have been solutions: In 2014, Livid came out with Guitar Wing, which I covered in Guitar Moderne. It allows control of MIDI effects parameters right from the face of the guitar, unchained from pedals and standard hardware controllers. Source Audio’s Hot Hand, covered here, also permits free-ranging parameter control, either through MIDI (using the Neuro Hub), or through an expression input on the pedal or switching device. The folks at GTC Sound Innovations have come up with yet another solution that debuted at NAMM a couple of years ago and I recently got to put it through its paces. First watch the GTC folks demo some classic effects.
Some of the coolest looking effects out there come from the British company Rainger FX. Their latest, a sidechaining pedal, is more typically-shaped than their usual fare but still reflects their creative graphics and off-center sensibility.
Sidechaining is a popular effect in modern recording. It can be used subtly, as in sidechaining a rhythm guitar with the kick drum, so that each time the kick drum hits the guitar volume dips slightly, or more intensely in dance music, to make the signal completely disappear with each kick drum beat. The Rainger FX Deep Space Pulsar ducks your instrument’s volume in this manner, creating a choppy effect similar to a slicer like the Boss SL-20.