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Posts Tagged ‘effect pedals’

I took the Corona to my weekly solo acoustic gig last night to give it a gig test. From the moment I started playing it, I was in love with this pedal! I actually got to my gig a little early so I could play around with the settings and find a “standard” setting that I could use. My thought behind this was that the pedal would just stay on all the time, except for specific songs that I just want my raw guitar sound.

My standard setting was Speed at 11am, Depth between 12 and 1, FX Level at just past noon, and Tone right in the middle. This produced a super smooth, lush, liquid, and sensual tone that also added a three-dimensional quality. It was total ear candy!!! Not only that, I was using no other processing, doing straight into the restaurant’s board and relying on the high ceiling to get my reverb. The result was absolutely stupendous!

I used the “standard” setting for the songs I play fingerstyle, which is most of the time. For songs where I was strumming, I backed the depth to noon. It’s a very subtle change, but an important one, as any chorus can muddy up your tone when you’re doing fast strums. I do this with all my chorus pedals. But the interesting thing with the Corona is that when I wanted to do any kind of adjustment, I didn’t have to move the knobs nearly as much as I would with other pedals. With the Corona, all the controls are interlinked, so it only takes minute adjustments to affect the overall tone. This is totally cool!

I didn’t use the TonePrint or TriChorus modes at all last night. I just didn’t feel a need to use them. As I mentioned in my review of the pedal yesterday, if the Corona only had the standard chorus mode, I’d still buy it. It sounds that good! I could get super-subtle chorus tones to gorgeous, liquid tones ala Andy Summers with this mode. In fact, I played “Every Breath You Take” last night, and just loved the chorus sound that the Corona produced for that.

Finally, a question I asked myself last night was: With how much I love the Corona, will it possibly replace my beloved Boss CE-2? Probably not. Not because the CE-2 is a better chorus, but simply because it has a distinctive tone that no other chorus I’ve every played can cop. Besides, I also like the slight gain boost that the CE-2 gives me when engaged. For bluesy stuff, that gain boost actually comes in handy. But for general chorus duties, I’ve found my go-to chorus pedal. This thing absolutely RAWKS!!!

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TC Electronic Corona Chorus

Summary: Part of TC Electronic’s new Compact line, this is just about the most tweakable chorus I’ve ever played. Standard chorus most offers a wide range of chorus tone from subtle, ringing tones to thick leslie-like warble. But with TonePrint and TriChorus, you’ve got even more chorus sounds at your fingertips.

Pros: For the chorus lover, the Corona is a tone tweaker’s wet dream! There’s so much you can dial in with this pedal, and guess what? It all sounds great! Great TC sound in a standard-size enclosure? No problem, mahn!

Cons: None. Granted, I haven’t played with it much, but I just can’t think of anything NOT to like at this point.

Features:

  • TonePrint – instant access to custom pedal-tweaks made by your idols!
  • 3 chorus types – expansive tonal options from glassy shimmer to mind-boggling swirls of sound
  • Speed, Depth, Color and Level controls – sculpt your chorus sounds from subtle to extreme
  • Stereo in & out – for added flexibility to your set-up
  • True Bypass – zero loss of tone
  • Analog-Dry-Through – maximum tonal integrity and clarity
  • ToneLock – protects your presets under all circumstances
  • Easy battery access – makes changing batteries fun! (well, almost)
  • Small footprint – save precious pedalboard space
  • High quality components – only the best will do when it comes to tone
  • Road-ready design – ready to follow you wherever your playing takes you

Price: $129 Street

Tone Bone Score: 5.0 ~TC Electronic is finally coming down from the stratosphere. In the past, price was a big barrier to entry, but with the Compact line of pedals, that’s no longer the case. You get great TC tone at an absolutely affordable price.

Selling Like Hotcakes

I called up my buddy Jordan over at Gelb Music in Redwood City today to see if he had any of the TC Electronic Compact Line in stock. He said he had one chorus and one delay left. He had three of each two days ago, and people are calling, so he has a bunch on order. I’ve been reading the buzz about these pedals for the past couple of days, and it seems that dealers sell them as soon as they get them; and for good reason: At least for the Corona, the pedals sound INCREDIBLE! As soon as Jordan told me he had a Corona (which is what I was originally interested in), I told him I’d be down in a few minutes and he said he’d pull the pedal. He knows me too well; if I like and bond with some gear, I’ll walk out the store with it.

Well, such was the case with the Corona. As soon as I got to the shop, Jordan handed the pedal to me. I took it and got set up to test it. I tested it through a 100 Watt Sebago Double Trouble with a Gretsch Electromatic at the shop and immediately fell in love. This is a keeper, and will be going on my board – today! Let’s get to the review, shall we?

Fit and Finish

Can you say, “built like a tank?” 🙂 The enclosure is absolutely solid. The knobs feel totally sturdy, and the bypass switch (yes, it’s true bypass) feels solid. In other words, if the Corona is any indication of the rest of the line, these pedals will be gig-worthy.

How It Sounds

Sorry, no clips yet as I have yet to bring it home. 🙂 But all I can say is that the chorus is simply silky-smooth. The “Analog-Dry-Through” (ADT) technique that they’re using really works. Basically, with ADT, the dry signal stays untouched in the pedal, and the effect is simply blended in. I really like this technique, as it ensures that your signal retains its integrity. So there’s no signal loss, and no gain boost like you get with other pedals that modify the dry signal directly. It also gives you a lot finer control over how much effect  you want.

I tested all three modes: Chorus, TonePrint, and TriChorus. Here’s a synopsis of each:

Chorus Mode ~ If the Corona only had this mode, I still would’ve bought it. Based upon TC’s classic SCF circuit, this is a smooth, sexy chorus. There’s nothing bell-like with this mode, but it just adds some very beautiful character to your sound and it doesn’t sound at all processed. Based upon my initial test, this will most probably be the mode I use the most.

TonePrint Mode ~ This mode, of course, offers the ultimate in tweakability. Out of the box, the default TonePrint is an asymmetrical TriChorus that has some really cool swirls. But if you don’t like that, just hook the pedal up to your computer via the included USB cable and print a chorus sound you like. You can download TonePrints from the TC Electronic site, where they’ve had some major artists provide TonePrints. Want a Bumblefoot chorus sound? How ’bout one from Orianthi? Pretty cool stuff!

TriChorus ~ For me, used subtly in mono, this mode out of the box will give you very cool leslie-like tones. Apparently, it’s best used in stereo. While I liked it, it was the least of my favorites, but I can actually see where I can use it in one of my songs. It’ll work perfectly for that.

Overall Impression

As I entitled my previous article on the Corona chorus, I really thought I was done getting chorus pedals. But this is a must-have for me as I wanted to have another chorus pedal that could do sounds that me Boss CE-2 can’t do. The CE-2 is a really in-your-face type of chorus, while the Corona can be dialed back for a much more subtle chorus tone. I’ll be using this pedal – A LOT!!!

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At Winter NAMM 2011, under the “Compact” line of pedals, TC Electronic released seven new pedals in a more standard footprint. I spoke about about the Corona Chorus in my previous article, and it is very promising. Now you might say, “So what? There were lots of pedals release at NAMM.” True, but from my standpoint, this is a major departure for TC Electronic; not in terms of engineering and quality, but of its movement into the mainstream.

Think about it: For years TC Electronic has been producing incredible effects that are always highly rated, and known for their high quality. The only problem for me, and while it might not seem like a big thing to others, but it is a big thing to me, was the form-factor of TC pedals. I have always had a problem with their size and shape.

People might say that it’s the tone that should matter and not the form-factor, and I would agree to a point. But from a practical perspective, because of their size and shape, I’d have to sacrifice too much real estate on my board to accommodate an original TC pedal. So though I’ve loved the pedals for their tones, I’ve always passed on them purely because of I’d have to change my board. That is definitely changed with TC Electronic’s new Compact Line.

The Compact Line in a Nutshell

As I mentioned above, the Compact line includes seven pedals. It’s great that TC came out with all of them at once as opposed to staging the releases. It definitely makes a bigger splash. One thing that I can say about the Compact line is that TC had versatility in mind with these pedals. All the modulation effects include TC’s new TonePrint feature, which lets you load settings by major artists into the pedal directly via a USB connection. How cool is that?

Anyway, here are video clips I found on YouTube that really demonstrate the pedals’ capabilities:

Flashback Delay

Corona Chorus

Vortex Flanger

Hall of Fame Reverb

Shaker Vibrato

Mojo Mojo Overdrive

Dark Matter Distortion

The pedals that really catch my ear are the Corona Chorus and the Vibrato, which is VERY cool. Unlike tremolo, vibrato is a pitch modulation, where tremolo is a volume modulation. That could really come in handy!

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TC Electronic comes out with the Corona Chorus (announced at Winter NAMM 2011). From what I’ve been reading and watching about this chorus pedal, it’s a winner! Very tweakable, with three different modes including their classic SCF chorus, Tri-Chorus, and TonePrint, which allows you to download settings directly into the pedal via a USB connection to your computer.

I have never owned a TC Electronic device; though I’ve tested a few of the Nova line pedals, and they sound great, one thing that has turned me off in the past is the size of the pedals I tested. Now with TC Electronic’s new compact pedal line, all that tonal goodness TC Electronic is known for can be had in a more standard form factor!

I don’t have a lot of chorus pedals; in fact, I only have two (BOSS CE-2 and a Homebrew THC), and I love them both. I use the THC for acoustic guitar, and use the CE-2 for electric. But I was just thinking that I’d like to have a more tweakable chorus to accompany my CE-2, as it’s kind of on the bright side, and sometimes I want something much darker, plus the versatility of the Corona would be awesome to accompany the CE-2 on my board. And no, I wouldn’t remove the CE-2 because it has a very distinctive tone that I have not been able to duplicate with any other pedal – ever.

From the techie side of things, the Corona is true bypass, and as TC Electronic puts it, Analog-Dry-Through, which simply means that the dry signal through the pedal stays dry and the effect is blended in. Very nice. That would definitely make it easy to put in front of an amp.

In any case, as usual Andy at ProGuitarShop.com has created a demo video. It’s pretty sweet:

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Just came across this today, and it is the most comprehensive OD shootout I’ve seen/heard – EVER! This isn’t a simple A/B. This is 36 OD pedals. Very good!

NOTE: If the video keeps stopping, watch the video on the YouTube site directly: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WuTt8YFblcE

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For years I was on an Overdrive kick. I still kind of am. I love dirt pedals despite the fact that I don’t use them nearly as much as I used to, and am patiently waiting for my Timmy to arrive. 🙂 But ever since I went on my quest to get an original BOSS CE-2 chorus, I’ve kind of gotten on a chorus kick as well; not as bad as my overdrive kick, but every time I see a new chorus, I have to at least listen to it. And if I REALLY  like it, I might just buy it. That’s how it was with my Homebrew THC. It just came along at the right place at the right time.

Truth be told though, while I’m not currently in the market for another chorus pedal, the Sea Machine Chorus from Earthquaker devices does give me pause. One thing that always turns me on with respect to gear is versatility, and the Sea Machine certainly cannot be blamed for lack of it. In addition to the tradition, Rate, Depth, and Intensity knobs, the Sea Machine also boasts three other knobs:

  • Animate – adjusts the width of the chorus pitch shift
  • Shape – adjusts the shape of the LFO
  • Dimension – which adds reverb/delay-like ambience to the tone.

This is impressive because from demos I’ve seen, this pedal is capable of producing TONS of different tones from your traditional chorus to leslie to vibe to all-out tweaked!

The pedal retails for $215 online. Here are some demos for your viewing/listening pleasure:

I totally dig Andy at ProGuitarShop.com’s demo as he demonstrates AND explains what the pedal can do, which is a lot. The Dimension feature is absolutely awesome!

If I had to do it over again, and I hadn’t purchased the Homebrew THC, I probably would’ve picked up the Sea Machine. Great chorus!

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A couple of weeks ago, I did a gear find announcement about the new EH Freeze pedal that essentially takes what you’re playing such as a chord or note and freezes it. The video demonstration was particularly awesome, and very intriguing. Intriguing enough to where I needed to check it out. So I did, and…

I’d rather use a looper. 🙂 The premise is great: Strum a chord, or pick a note, press and hold the button, and what you just strummed is held in place.

When I first saw the video, I was thinking that it would be great for my solo acoustic gigs where I could solo over the frozen chord. But after playing around with the pedal, I realized that I like soloing over live loops than just a single chord. No doubt, the pedal offers some interesting possibilities.

One thing that I found was really cool was using the latch mode while playing chord progressions. In latch, freeze is always on, and each time you press the button the pedal freezes what you’re playing at the time. With chord progressions, it’s cool because it really helps fill the space, but the problem for me – and probably  most players – is that I don’t do just a straight strum. I palm mute, I tap the strings, I pick out bass lines and such, and this is where it’s really tough to use this pedal.

Interestingly enough, lots of bass players have picked up this pedal. For bass, it makes lots of sense because you’re mostly playing single notes at a time. But if you slap or play two- or three- note chords like my bassist does, I think the pedal would get limited usage.

I suppose you could use it to get infinite sustain, but for that, I’d rather use something like the Pigtronix compressor/sustainer. While it won’t give me infinite sustain, it’ll give me enough for my needs. 🙂

So the verdict? I like the pedal, but not enough to actually put it in my chain. Quality-wise, it’s built solidly and that’s not an issue. I think for me, it would get very limited usage, and while I can get it for around $100, there are other things I’d rather use $100 for…

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I usually keep up on new stuff, but the Aria has been around for about a year now. Can’t believe I missed it! In any case, I just spoke with Dave Koltai of Pigtronix, and he said the Aria was the result of releasing a product with no marketing. I take it that Dave is one of those back-room geek dudes who come up with lots of amazing shit, then just put it out there. 🙂 Actually, after speaking with him, he’s a really cool guy, and it’s great to meet someone who has a passion for what they do, and that was clear that he has a passion for creating great pedals.

I’ve known about Pigtronix for quite awhile, but it wasn’t until I got the press release on the Keymaster and shared it, that I started looking in on Pigtronix’s product line. They’ve got an impressive array of pedals. The one that I’m really keeping an eye on is the Philosopher King pedal, which is a compressor/sustainer, grit, and envelope filter. Have to save my pennies up for that one, but it’s definitely something I’d like to add to my board. But more to the immediate, I also came across the Aria Disnortion pedal, and that’s what this post is about…

I love dirt pedals! I’ve got a bunch of ’em, and for some reason, I just can’t get enough of ’em (I know… I say that a lot, but it’s true). Each one that I have has a different character, and they rotate on my board with seeming regularity as I get the in the mood for different tones now and then. As of late, I’ve really been into more transparent overdrives and boost, as I love the natural sound of my amps when overdriven, and the Aria definitely seems to fit the bill.

Now with respect to transparency, let’s face it, nothing is transparent. Everything you put on your board will change your tone. But what I tend to look for – especially in dirt pedals – is that they don’t take anything away, ESPECIALLY dynamics and and note separation. Some pedals I’ve tried in the past sound pretty decent and have lots of dynamics, but at high gain levels, lose clarity and note separation. While I’m not a speed demon on the fretboard by any stretch of the imagination, I do have more of a legato style of playing where I play several notes in one complete phrase which I’ll end with a bend or sustain, depending upon what I’m playing. So note separation is VERY important to me. There’s nothing worse than playing a well thought out phrase, only to lose it in a mush. From what I’ve heard from the demonstrations by Peter Thorn and Andy at Pro Guitar Shops, even at high gain settings, the pedal retains note separation. That’s a huge plus!

Another plus of this pedal that I can see is the 3-band active EQ that provide 12dB of cut or boost to really shape your tone. The gain knob will give you clean boost to fuzz, which makes this an incredibly versatile dirt pedal. This ain’t no one-trick-pony; that’s fo sho!

Then add to all that this pedal retails for a street price of $149, OMG! I have to get this pedal! 🙂

For more information on the Pigtronix Aria Disnortion (no, it’s not a typo), visit the Pigtronix Aria product page!

In any case, for your viewing/listening enjoyment, check out these demo videos!

Peter Thorn

Andy @ ProGuitarShops.com

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I’m not too sure how to actually describe this “pedal.” It’s a dual looper, but could be used as a switch box, or a DI box. You could use it to direct your signal to two different effects loops and with the crossfade knob, mix in just the right amount of signal from each loop. As an impedance matching DI box, you can use it to go directly into a board or DAW. Or you could keep things very simple and use the box to go from one guitar to two amps, or two guitars to one amp. The possibilities for using this box are immense! Very interesting.

Here’s a copy of the press release I got from Pigtronix:

Pigtronix introduces the Keymaster – Impedance Matching Effects DI

Pigtronix Keymaster is an impedance matching, effects mixing direct box that allows musicians to do more with the gear they already own. Without loss of tone, the Keymaster routes any sound source (XLR mic, line level or instruments) into effects via two, true-bypass loops and then optimizes the mixed effects signal for your instrument amplifier, mixing console or DAW.

The Keymaster’s unique and intuitive arrangement provides musicians of all types with an elegant solution for routing their sound through effects in a creative fashion and then out into any device without losing signal integrity. The two loops can be switched between series and parallel, with a CROSSFADE function for on-board or expression pedal controlled blending of different effects. Input and Output boost controls add up to 10db of gain both before and after the loops.

The Keymaster lets musicians easily blend their instrument’s natural tone with a floor processor or even cell phone and laptop computer based effects using a standard expression pedal. Vocalists and horn players can use the Keymaster to control their effects mix from the stage. Guitar players can now mix pedals like a DJ does two turntables.

Already in use by some of the world’s top producers and FOH mix engineer’s, the Keymaster elegantly answers the unmet needs of musicians at every level, opening up endless realms of possibility for combining the effects you already own.

“I use the Keymaster to run the Piano mic through my Leslie Cabinet, drum mics into spring reverb and to get vocals into guitar amps. This pedal kills. You need it, I can’t live without it.”
Hector Castillo – Producer / Engineer for David Bowie, Bjork, Roger Waters, Brazilian Girls

I get lots of press releases, and there are just a few that I’ll forward to my readers. The gear simply has to be interesting enough for me to publish. This is definitely something I could put to use in the studio – or even on stage. It’s definitely worth a look! In any case, check out this video describing the pedal:

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When I first heard about this pedal, which EH calls a “sound retainer,” I have to admit, I was rather incredulous. I asked, “What the hell would I use THAT for?” But after seeing a demonstration of it, I seeing some real possibilities; especially for my solo acoustic gigs. But rather than bore you with a bunch of features, take a look at this video:

That dude is a great guitar player! Don’t know who he is, but I do know he’s from Mexico as that demo comes from guitargear.com.mx. No affiliation to this site, but it’s a cool name just the same! And of course, at least for me, I have to appreciate his choice of guitar. 🙂 Nice Tea Burst Les Paul!

In any case, that demo sparked off an idea in me for when I play my solo acoustic gigs. I could strum a chord, then play a short lead over it. But I can also see how it could actually be used to introduce a whole new way of approaching music. It’s wild! I’m seeing all sorts of possibilities now with this pedal, once I saw a demo. And at under $120, it’s not expensive at all.

For more information, check out the EH FREEZE site!

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