Sunday, December 6, 2009

TWA: a look into the future...

It has landed, the first creation from Totally Wycked Audio has landed, and if this doesn't take your head off I don't know what will. If you remember correctly we were in communication with Godlyke sometime in the beginning of TWA's venture into the creation of the LD-01 Little Dipper. They were keeping us informed, filled in, and up to date on all the happenings of this cool and sexy pedal. Well now it's here and I am speechless... Never have I come across something so cool and innovative. TWA has taken all the skill, knowledge, and experience they could muster, to create what will go down in history as one of the baddest stompboxes to hit planet earth. My good buddy Kevin at Godlyke said I would absolutely fall in love with this pedal and he was right, I'm in ahh. I'm so proud of these cats and cannot wait to see what else they come up with in the coming years. Raise your glasses, throw up your fists, and get ready to bow down to the teachings of Totally Wycked Audio. Now come on down and get some.


Totally Wycked Audio
LD-01 Little Dipper

Ascension: Controls the depth in the sweep of the pedal's filters. Similar to threshold in envelope filter.
Inclination: 4-way switch that determines the trigger timing of the two filters in relation to one another
Diffraction: At zero filtering effects are clean, as you add Diffration in it creates a fuzz effect.
Blend: This is an internal control that blends in clean instrument signal against effected signal.
Gate: This internal control acts as a threshold control that will gate noise in between notes.


So what is the Little Dipper exactly? Well for those of you who missed class last time I will explain it one more time. The LD-01 is an envelope controlled vocal formant filter based around a classic 70's circuit. Which circuit exactly? You'll have to figure that one out on your own. Like other envelope filters the Little Dipper responds on playing dynamics, only it covers a wider range of frequencies and is much more organic sounding, similar to the human voice. This pedal lets you emulate everything from auto wahs and phase shifters, to talk boxes, traditional wahs, and fuzz tones. You'll be able to turn your guitar into vowel slobbering, goo-goo gaa-gaa-ing, funktified hammering, machine of this-that and the-other thing. It is the mocking bird of effects pedals and something you're sure to get much joy from. The Little Dipper is basically a whole new breed of pedal, a pedal built to add an entirely new world of colors to your tonal canvas. I wasn't 5 minutes into trying this pedal before I was calling every musician friend I knew asking them to come over and check it out for themselves. Everything TWA said this pedal could do is right on and then some.

The pedal is 100% US made, built with the highest quality components, and able to handle some serious stage time. The LD-01 sports true bypass, three rugged chrome knobs (Ascension/Inclination/Diffraction), two internal controls (Blend/Gate), 7 LED's (which are shaped like the "Little Dipper"), and can run on both a 9V battery or power supply. How's that for a work of art? When you do use batteries to power the LD-01 make sure you're using top quality and not generic brand 9 volts, this will assure you get the best performance from this unit. When using power supplies run it with adapters of 500 mA or higher, the Godlyke Power-All system is always a good alternative. Everything is housed in a heavy duty dark blue sparkle enclosure that blends with the pedal's LED design to look like a summer night star filled sky. I can imagine just how cool it must look in a gigging situation, hypnotizing and lighting up the darkness. The pedal also has 1/4" input and output jacks which are mounted to their own board to keep from damaging the main circuit board. The guts of this pedal expose highly skillful workmanship which tells me this pedal will last a very long time if not forever.

I wanted to hear the full and clean effect from the formant filter so I started with the Diffraction control rolled all the way off, I set the Inclination in the 2nd position, and rolled the Ascension up about a quarter of the way up. This setting produced a classic, warm'n'quacky auto-wah effect that worked beautifully with funk licks, and rhythm chucking. The filters dipped and rose smoothly with every little accent in the effect coming off clearly. My original sound was still strong and present which was a nice change from the many units that muddy things up. The reason the Little Dipper works so great with your natural tone is the cool little Blend pot that can be found on the inside of the chassis. You can funktify your sound to all hell and with the Blend knob work your clean tone back into the mix to balance things out, it's lovely. Next I rose the Ascension knob to about 50% and added in a bit of the Diffraction. This produced a more in-your-face kind of sound, perfect for cutting through a mix or for live gigging. One thing you'll notice about the LD-01 is how intact your lows stay, this makes gigging, band practice, and loud playing in general sound much better. A common problem with envelope filters is they tend to eat your bass, sharpen up your highs, and flatten out your mids. Non of that here my dear chaps, the control layout on this pedal keeps things amp friendly and makes sure you're able to dial in a sound you can use. One of the sounds I was dying to get out of this pedal was a talkbox effect, I have always dug what talkbox pedals sound like only I've never enjoyed having to set them up or how they function. Getting the Little Dipper to sound like a talkbox was much easier. To do this first find the spot in the Ascension control that works best with your picking dynamics, I found the 3rd position of the Inclination works best for this effect, and last add in the desired amount of fuzz with the Diffraction knob (the more Diffraction the more intense). The last ingredient is an overdrive or distortion pedal, this gives you the perfect amount of growl, howl, and robo-vowels. Then just control the talk with your picking dynamics and that's that. Another cool use I found from this pedal was the cocked wah effects it can produce, I actually did this by mistake by leaving the Ascension knob in place and strumming a chord while turning the 4 positions of the Inclination control. This made for some dynamite sounding lead tones. My distortion exploded with character and life. Played through a Super Lead with my favorite overdriver created some sounds to die for, sounds Hendrix would've rocked the hell out of. As I continued to flip through the controls I found yet another sound, a classic, mild phase effect. It isn't like a modern phaser with all the wild swishing and swooshing. The phase tones you can get from LD-01 are much mellower and user friendly. Depending on how you set the Ascension and Diffraction make a big difference on how this sound comes off. Last I put the Little Dipper through a bunch of different dirt boxes, I wanted to see how much grit I could push through it. Just like I expected the LD-01 is extremely pedal friendly, because it keeps your natural sound's eq nice and tight makes this pedal a dream to match up with dirt pedal. My favorite though, the absolute coolest sounds I was able to get from the Little Dipper, were the unexplainable, uncataloged, and yet to be named sounds. I was able to dish out more unique tones from this one pedal that I knew what to do with. It's cool that it's based off of a classic design and also holds it's own special design, this keeps things traditional and exciting all at the same time. Today's music needs a bit of a facelift, not entirely don't get me wrong, I'm as old school rock and roll as one gets. Having pedals like these though makes playing fun and keeps things fresh. Totally Wycked Audio has really given us a look into the future with the LD-01, and at the same time given birth to some extraordinary sounds. These cats own a talent that will surely bring forth some more unique musical tools, tools we can really use in these hard musical times we're living in. Until TWA comes up with their next masterpiece I will be trying to master the LD-01. I say you do the same and come join me in the stars.


For more info on Totally Wycked Audio go to or click the direct banners located on our site. Make sure you stay tunes for more awesome gear from the cats at TWA and Godlyke. As long as they keep dishing them out we will be reporting to the masses, hell yes!!!


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