EarthQuaker Devices corralled Nels for their Board to Death series. He talks about and demonstrates his gear alternating between brilliant playing and hilarious commentary.
Full disclosure: Though Source Audio is not one of my advertisers; I am their rep in Nashville. As with my advertisers, I don’t claim they make amazing things because I work with them, I work with them because they make amazing things, so I feel touting them at every opportunity is providing a service to you, the reader. The latest fab product from Source Audio is the True Spring Reverb pedal
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.
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?