I feel like it was nearly five years ago that I first saw Mod Devices Mod Duo (€649.00) at a NAMM show. It seemed like a great idea at the time: a hardware pedal that could host plug-ins. I had just begun exploring the unique sounds I could get using plug-ins on the computer in Ableton Live. These were sounds unavailable in stomp boxes at the time, but since then, more and more boutique pedal manufacturers have released the kind of granular, filtering, and ambient effects that were until now only available in the computer. Still, the Mod Duo offers both freedom from a laptop on stage, and a plethora of pedal style and plug-in style effects in a small footprint. Its open source nature also bodes well for modern sounds not yet available from stomps. What do you think?
Once upon a time, a couple of former Strymon and Line 6 folks got together and started making 500 Series rack modules under the name Meris. Eventually they started producing pedal versions of two of the modules. I saw one of those pedals, the Ottobit Jr., demonstrated back in January by Nick Reinhart and Juan Alderete on the great YouTube channel Pedals And Effects. It immediately struck me as potentially a perfect multi-effects pedal for Guitar Moderne readers. As luck would have it, in February, Nick introduced me by email to the Meris people who were kind enough to send one when the review models became available. I dove in and here are the results.
In 2014, Livid came out with Guitar Wing, which we covered in Guitar Moderne. We were impressed with the possibilities of controlling effects parameters right from the face of the guitar, unchained from pedals and standard hardware controllers. The downside was that the unit can be difficult to fit on your instrument and makes a large visual statement that may or may not be to your liking. On the upside, it is very versatile and, streeting at a little over $100, reasonably priced.
The folks at GTC have come up with an alternate device that debuted at NAMM a couple of years ago. As hearing anything at NAMM is an exercise in futility, we were glad to come across a video that clearly demonstrates the enormous possibilities of their Revpad. Smaller than the Guitar Wing, it comes with its own hardware multi-effects and can also send MIDI to external effects. On the strength of this video, the effects sound great and the Revpad seems nearly as versatile as the Guitar Wing. At around $1000, it is pricier than the Livid product, but when you factor in the cost of the laptop and/or external hardware effects you would need to add to Guitar Wing, they seem comparable values. What do you think?
This video is to accompany my Electronic Musician column “Electronic Guitar.” The July column is on Glitch Guitar and the video features the Red Panda Particle, the Electro-Harmonix Canyon, and Ableton Live’s Beat Repeat plug-in. The issue is on the stands now and the article should be available online next month.
I recently shared a bill here in Nashville with Dan Phelps and was intrigued by his looping setup. He gave me a quick tour after the gig but went into much more detail during his clinic at Full Sail in Florida. Looping fans will enjoy how the elegance of his simple approach permits a wide variety of sounds.