There were a lot of really cool pedals that made their debut this past year, but these are our top ten effects that (in our opinion) are a cut above the rest.
Juan and Nick's top ten effects pedals of 2016 (in no particular order):
Earthquaker Devices' first entry into DSP pedals is a huge success. The Avalanche Run is a great delay and reverb, with 2 seconds of delay time, an expression pedal out to control the multiple trail options, the sonic exploration is endless. There are lots of cool "hidden" features to be found in the pedal when you really dig in.
The Earthquaker Devices Transmisser is more than just a reverb pedal. With a sweeping filter, this modulated reverb is incredibly unique. With the soft switches Earthquaker Devices uses now, you can and will spend hours upon hours discovering new sounds.
(Okay so maybe the list isn't ten pedals exactly, there was a three way tie amongst these dope envelope filters.)
This was a pedal that really caught us by surprise. This unique little delay has random echo, a granular function like those found in Red Panda pedals. Of course, as the name suggests it has super crazy reverse delays. Swells, psychedelic reverse trails, it's all here. Alexander Effects is a company we will definitely be keeping our eyes on.
The Nemesis delay can do it all, no really. Every single great delay and echo sound accurately modeled and all in one box. You want ring mod sounds, and a pseudo bit crusher? Nemesis has got that. The wizards over at Source Audio have made this pedal very 21st century friendly with MIDI, and a seamless way of creating, saving, sharing and uploading your settings.
Now you guys know I love my octave pedals. As the name states, the Luminary Quad Octave Generator has four octave controls, -2, -1, +1, +2. The octave tracking is on point, the flutter function adds a chorusing effect. Add an expression pedal and you're flying high. Really cool harmonics and overtones from this pedal.
This pedal is a lot more than just a simplified version of the Digitech Whammy. The Ricochet has got seven pitch options and you can set the rate at which the intervals rise and fall. The pedal also has additional momentary hold and latch functions too. This pedal is super musical and it can of course do the extreme octave jumps the Whammy is known for.
Analog heart, digital brain is Chase Bliss' mission statement and it is super evident with the Tonal Recall. The Tonal Recall is an analog delay modeled after the lush echoes produced by the MN3005 chips. Vintage tape sounds, and modulated trails, with added tap tempo, and expression controls. Additionally there are a number of dip switches on the back that change the sound, and function of the pedal. Lots to dive into with this pedal, and there's nothing quite like it out there. This pedal is pure bliss.
The Dream Sequence is another pedal that took us by surprise. It's a sequencer, it's got modulation, an arpeggiator, can do vibrato. Heck, you can adjust the brightness of the LED's. It's a very unique and out there pedal, and we love it. Another one that needs to be heard to be believed.
The Crazy 8 Tremolo is a cool musical, rhythmic tremolo with LFO wave control, waveform peak control, and a unique "multiplier" function which controls the speed of the LFO. I love tremolo pedals, and this one is going to be spending a lot of time on my board.
These flat patch cables have proved to be absolutely invaluable. They're bullet proof, real estate friendly and have amazing audio fidelity. I can't imagine building a board without these guys.
It's simple, but very effective. The Red Panda Mixer is very multi-instrumentalist friendly, one board but you play guitar and keyboard? No problem. You can also use the Mixer as an effects loop, keep the dirt separate from the modulation etc. Set it, and forget it. The Red Panda Mixer is simple but most importantly reliable.
This Supro combo amp has been a workhorse. We filmed all of our videos this year using this amp for guitar and it's been able to handle everything we've thrown at it. Crisp vintage cleans, great crunch and has headroom for days making it incredibly pedal friendly.
This fun little toy has proved to be one of the most interesting noise makers to come out this year. Pop in a cassette, and get ready for time stretched, musical weirdness!